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DEVELOPING: Utah Sheriff Starts Investigation Into ‘Ritualistic’ Child Sex Abuse


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The Utah County Sheriff’s Department is investigating reports of alleged “ritualistic child sexual abuse” and a sex trafficking ring perpetrated by high-profile individuals within the state for over two decades.

Detectives with the UCSO Special Victims Unit say the alleged crimes and sex trafficking took place between 1990 and 2010 in Juab and Sanpete counties.

The department announced last week that it launched the investigation last April after speaking to victims from multiple counties.

Detectives urged the public to provide tips and encourage victims with knowledge of such crimes to step forward so they can “be offered all the assistance possible.”

“In April of 2021, an investigation began into ritualistic child sexual abuse and child sex trafficking that occurred in Utah County,” the department said in a press release.

“The ensuing investigation discovered that other victims had previously reported similar forms of ritualistic sexual abuse and trafficking that occurred in Utah County, Juab County and Sanpete County during the time between 1990 and 2010. Portions of these allegations were confirmed.”

“These allegations are being investigated by the Utah County Sheriff’s Office in cooperation with other local and federal agencies,” the Utah Sheriff’s Department continued.

“We are pleading with the public and encourage victims or individuals with knowledge of these crimes to contact the Utah County Sheriff’s Office Special Victim’s Unit so that they can be offered all the assistance possible. We understand that there are individuals who have concerns for their safety and/or well-being who have been silenced. We need your help.”


Investigative reporter Adam Herbets tweeted, “I’ve been investigating the case for months. I can confirm some subjects of the investigation are high-profile individuals.”

“Utah County Attorney David Leavitt, vying for re-election, said Wednesday the reopening of a decades-old case naming him in allegations of ritual child abuse is a political attack,” KSL TV reported.

He called for a review of the case and of Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith, one day after Smith’s office announced an investigation of reports of ritualistic child sexual abuse that occurred in Utah, Juab and Sanpete counties between 1990 and 2010.

“The sheriff’s office is using its position for political gain,” Leavitt said.

Smith strongly denied the claim. The two top law enforcers in the county traded barbs in unusual, back-to-back news conferences Wednesday.

The vague announcement from the sheriff’s office Tuesday doesn’t name Leavitt. Rather, Leavitt was the one to confirm he’s named in a victim statement contained in hundreds of pages of police investigative reports he said are tied to the investigation.

Leavitt said the investigation is tied to a case that was dismissed in 2014 and said an outside review could ferret out whether Smith dug up old documents for political reasons.

“I challenge him to resign himself if his office is being used for such illicit political purposes,” Leavitt said during a news conference at his office in Provo. He noted the primary election is just weeks away and said ballots will be mailed out to voters within days.

Smith said he’s not resigning, and he believes investigating crimes against children is a good use of public money.

“This is not a politically motivated investigation,” Smith told reporters.

Smith said the investigation got to a point where his employees believed there were other victims and wanted to gather information from them.

He refused to name any suspects or confirm Leavitt was connected to the current investigation.

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“I believe that Leavitt is using his authority and his pulpit to bully, distract and mischaracterize the facts of an ongoing investigation,” Smith said.

Leavitt claimed he and his wife are named in the investigation and accused of engaging in ritualistic abuse and cannibalism.

“I learned that my wife and I were part of those allegations, alleging that we were guilty of cannibalizing young children and murdering young children,” he vehemently denied.

Nonetheless, the department’s announcement of the investigation prompted Leavitt to hold a press conference calling for the resignation of Sheriff Mike Smith for “misuse of taxpayer and county resources.”

The UCSO has not publicly named Leavitt as a suspect.

However, Fox 13 learned some of the subjects of the investigation are high-profile Utahns.

UCSO would not confirm or deny.

“We’re just being as careful as we can before we toss names out,” Cannon said. “Any given individual… The chips fall where they are, and we follow them.”

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Victims and law enforcement sources say one of the targets of the investigation was a therapist who was previously charged with a series of sex crimes against young female family members. The Utah County Attorney’s Office dropped charges without prejudice, and the man was not convicted.

Records obtained by FOX 13 News indicate the man previously confessed to sexually assaulting at least one of the girls on an undercover phone recording.

Brett Bluth, another victim, said he met the therapist through a referral from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Hypnosis was a big part of (my treatment). He told me from the very beginning, that that was his main technique,” Bluth said. “(He) would say, ‘Do you want to be healed of your homosexuality, or not?’ and the answer was yes.”

Bluth said, based on his interviews with law enforcement, he’s cautiously optimistic that charges will be filed and prosecuted.

He hopes sharing his story will empower more victims to come forward.

“I do think it will be different, I think in part because I have some information that can connect some dots,” Bluth said.

The Gateway Pundit added:

In March, Utah County Sherriff’s Office rescued three women and arrested 21 people on a slew of drug and trafficking-related charges including sexual solicitation and unlawful sexual conduct, as a result of an undercover operation to combat human sex trafficking.

The group charged represents only a small margin of the overall sex trafficking problem in Utah, Lt. Jason Randall warns.

“This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. This is like a snowflake on an iceberg. We are barely scratching the service,” Randal said during a press conference. “One of the individuals that showed up brought rope, brought tape, brought toys, brought lingerie. And this person was under the understanding they’d be meeting with a 13-year-old child.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that we have saved multiple other child victims because this man is a perpetrator and he showed up with the intent of doing harm to a 13-year-old girl.”



 

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